The genus Helianthus, commonly known as “sunflower”, comprises about 70 species of annual and perennial flowering plants in the daisy family Asteraceae.

Helianthus species are indigenous to North and Central America, with one or two species, also found in South America. This breed of the flower is known by its name: sunflower.

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Their names come from the sunflower’s tendency to reposition itself to greet the sun every morning. When thinking of this flower’s name, many people refer to it as a symbol of the sun’s energy or strength because of its bright yellow colour.

Derived from “helios”, meaning sun, and “anthos”, meaning flower, the sunflower is botanically known as Helianthus annuus. Typical sunflowers range in height from six feet to ten feet.

It is not uncommon for giant sunflowers to grow to heights of 15 to 20 feet. In 2014, the world record sunflower measured a height of 30 feet and 1 inch.

Sunflowers typically reach a height of six to ten feet, while giant sunflower varieties can reach a height of twenty feet. In addition to the standard yellow blooms, annual sunflowers come in colours ranging from golden yellow, orange, and ruby red, to bronze and even white.

A variety of branches are present with many flower heads, as well as dwarf varieties that grow to just one or two feet tall. Enthusiasts keen on growing sunflowers in varying colours can choose among various strains that grow into either single or multiple flower heads.

Some cultivars reach only 1 to 2 feet tall, making them ideal for small gardens or containers. Gardeners who want to grow sunflowers indoors should start with three seeds per 3-to-4-inch peat pot.

The soilless planting medium will provide the best drainage as the sunflower seeds need plenty of nutrients and oxygen to grow well. Indoor germination happens in 6 to 10 days, so you can enjoy continuous blooms through the summer by planting seeds every couple of weeks.

Depending on geographical location, sunflowers employ various cross-pollination methods to reproduce. Cross-pollination occurs between most species through insects, including bees and the wind.

Upon forcing pollen into the stigma, sperm are released to fertilise an egg within the pistil.